The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | February / March 2002
to a World
of Housing Need
Africa/Middle East: Local support spreads
Despite the challenges, Habitat for Humanity programs in Africa and the Middle East are expanding by leaps and bounds. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2002, the area approved 38 new affiliates, progress area vice president Harry Goodall calls astounding. He says the key to supporting such expansion with limited resources is engaging local populations in creating self-sustaining programs.
Expansion is a positive sign, he says. People are saying, Yes, we want to do this, and Yes, were going to take responsibility for it. Where we have been successful as an organization has been in the commitment of our national and local partners, where the people of the community have caught the vision of Habitat and own it. Our challenge in the area is to go from an organization to a movement.
Houses built during FY2001: 3,133
Asia/Pacific:Special projects heighten awareness
With activities ranging from hosting the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2001 in the Republic of Korea to responding to the needs created by natural disasters, Habitats Asia/ Pacific region has been busy on several fronts. Local fund raising jumped tremendously as the area office encouraged affiliates to submit proposals with a local fund-raising component, says area vice president Steve Weir. The Global Village program has grown as well, with many teams originating within Asia, including more teams from Japan than from North America.
Habitat also has been working to establish an affiliate in Gujurat, India, to respond to the need for housing created by last winters devastating earthquake. Supporters there hope to build 700 houses through a partnership with World Vision and USAID.
Houses built during FY2001: 3,088
Europe/Central Asia:Bridging the culture gap
The Europe/Central Asia areawhere Habitat has only recently begun its effortsencompasses regions that are vastly different. Eastern Europe and Central Asia have struggling economic systems and widespread poverty, while Western Europe provides social benefit systems that are more successful in limiting poverty. Habitat hopes to help bridge the two regions.
Where Habitat can help in Western Europe is by raising awareness and money, says area vice president Don Haszczyn. In Eastern Europe, its about increasing capacity, getting the communities excited and bought into the Habitat model, which is a difficult model for them to understand.
One of the areas success stories is its high level of participation in the Global Village program. About 60 European teams are scheduled to travel throughout and beyond Europe to build with local homeowners and volunteers.
When Global Village comes in, we are demonstrating that you can do things on a volunteer basis, and its not a negative thing, Haszczyn says, referring to the regions historical, grim connotation about volunteerism.
Houses built during FY2001: 51
Latin America/Caribbean:Searching for land
The Latin America/Caribbean region builds thousands of houses per year in 23 countries through various strategies such as youth and education programs, church partnerships, Global Village and disaster response. The foundation for the success of any of these programs, however, is very basic: land. In the past, affiliates built primarily with people who owned land but couldnt afford to build a house on it. In the future, Habitat hopes to explore new ways to acquire land with those who dont already have it.
We certainly work with poor people, but there is a tendency [for affiliates to want to] move up the economic scale, says area vice president Torre Nelson. We have to be disciplined to find ways to continue to work with the poorest. [Acquiring] land is tied into that.
Houses built during FY2001: 5,997
United States/ Canada:Building a strong foundation
With more than 50 affiliates in Canada and about 90 percent of the U.S. population living in the service area of the 1,600-plus U.S. affiliates, the potential for Habitat to make a significant impact on affordable housing is growing. Many affiliates in the United States celebrated Habitats 25th year in 2001 by hosting blitz builds, coordinating Building on Faith events and strengthening interfaith partnerships.
In September, Habitat celebrated its 25th anniversary in Indianapolis, Ind., where thousands of Habitat volunteers, staff and homeowners met for workshops, training and the opportunity to learn from one anothers experiences.
For a closer look at Habitat in the United States, please see Proverty Persists.
Estimated number of houses built during FY2001: 6,191
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